Speed up your muscle recovery!
Did you just complete the Sundown Marathon? Are you looking forward to the other endurance races like 2XU SG-Ultra Marathon, Singapore International Triathlon or Standard Chartered Marathon and many scheduled races on the calendar?
For someone who is physically active and loves being on the move, when it comes to post-workout recovery, getting them to simply do less and rest more is a major victory of sorts.
All of us have heard the old adage, “Prevention is better than cure”. Certainly, there are things one should not do for speedy muscle recovery after a long endurance event. So let’s start with the Don’ts.
- Don’t train! If you think injury and illness robs us of training time, overtraining opens the door! Being too eager to resume your training can be counterproductive. During training season, schedule at least a day a week of rest is beneficial for both body and mind. While resting for a prolonged period has the effect of bringing back the zest and motivation when one does resume training. It makes the heart grow fonder because you miss the runner’s high!
- Don’t consume sugar or inflammatory foods eg. highly processed foods, fast food and hydrogenated oils, that slows down muscular recovery. After a calorie depleting race, your body is craving a replenishment. New studies have shown that it is not the simple carbohydrates but essential amino acids that a promotes muscle recovery. Calorie sources from fruits, vegetables and grains consumed within 6 hours that will restore lost energy.
- Don’t bother to elevate your feet. You’d be pardoned for feeling incredulous that elevating is Both a Do & a Don’t! As any vascular surgeon would point out, a healthy body is capable of circulating blood and lactate produced against gravity. It is the flow of lymph and extracellular fluid to the lower limbs and not blood that is causing notable swelling to the ankles. So elevating the legs can only help reduce the swelling.
Fluid intake is critical for postrace recovery particularly during the first few days after the event. A rehydrating plan with lots of pure, filtered or distilled water, protein shakes or fresh vegetable juices with added omega-3 rich, Emu Oil capsules can help fight inflammation and boost the immune system.
Quality nutrition. Your body craves protein and essential vitamins to aid muscle repair. Rocket fuel to propel speedy muscle recovery can be in the form of more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon has the benefit of added quality proteins and omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs but cannot produce on its own. If access to some of the listed foods is difficult, consuming omega-3 supplements like Emu Oil capsules will help.
Sleep and rest completely for 2 days or more. There are micro-torn muscle tissues sustained during a marathon or ultra. Why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can sleep? Is true! Your body needs time to rejuvenate and repair itself.
Elevate feet. As mentioned above in ‘Don’ts’, elevating your feet serves to reduce swelling due to pooling of lymph and extracellular fluids to the lower limbs than circulating the lactate build-up and pooling of blood.
Compression. This excerpt explains best: When compression clothing was applied for recovery purposes after exercise, small to moderate effect sizes were observed in recovery of maximal strength and power, especially vertical-jump exercise; reductions in muscle swelling and perceived muscle pain; blood lactate removal; and increases in body temperature. These results suggest that the application of compression clothing may assist athletic performance and recovery
Active recovery. Recent research have shown that gentle light foam rolling, stretching or simply contracting and relaxing muscles around sore ones speeds up the healing of microscopic tears in tissues. Many elite runners use cross training, hiking, yoga to ease themselves back to training. Dr Gabe Mirkin, author of best-selling Sportsmedicine Book in 1978, coined the term RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for the treatment of athletic injuries (Little Brown and Co., page 94). He recently recanted that both complete rest in ‘R’ & ‘I’ appears to delay healing. Ice only has the effect of of a medicine-free, numbing painkiller.
Topical applications. Some athletes turn to sports balm, creams, ibuprofen, aspirin and others to counter sore muscles, strains and joint pain. While many of these applications only provide temporary pain relief by numbing the affected areas, Emu Oil Balm and Liniment have proven to be effective in relieving pain and muscle soreness. It is able to promote blood circulation and deliver anti-inflammatory benefits of Emu Oil into targeted muscles or joints because it has highly penetrating ability.
Limit your racing. High volume or all year round training, even in low intensity, is unsustainable. Selective racing is the key to better performance and long term enjoyment.